This is a conversation I would imagine having with my Dad, Flight Lieutenant William James Duff, at this time of the year: Remembrance Day.
Dad (Bill): Stacey, I want you to thank Ryan, the young man who gave you the model Catalina Flying Boat for me.
Stacey: I already did Dad. It was so amazing that her took the time and effort to not only find, but purchase, and bring that model airplane to my school. Was it the right model?
Dad: Yes. Although, of course the model is much smaller than the life- version. It was a big aircraft and could fly for miles without refueling. That’s one of the reasons it was so favored overseas because of the distance it could travel.
Stacey: What’s it like now, Dad? Do you mark this day in Heaven?
Dad: Well, it’s a little different here, Stace.
Stacey: I guess if I asked you in what way, you wouldn’t be able to tell me?
Dad: Not exactly. All I can tell is that there is no pain, no more tears, no more mourning for the friends I lost.
Stacey: I always remember growing up that Remembrance Day was the one time EVER I saw you cry. I really didn’t understand it at the time.
Dad: How could you? No one can really imagine what it was like. You had to be there. It wasn’t all bad, though, Stacey. We had the opportunity to travel to some wonderful places and meet some really good people. The guys I was with in India – we became very close. The war brought a lot of people together in some very unlikely circumstances. I always felt so fortunate that I was able to learn how to fly a plane. I was in love with the idea of flying ever since I was a kid and a plane crashed in a field in New Lowell. I think it was there that my interest in flying – not crashing (grin) – peaked.
Stacey: It’s strange, Dad, that you are able to take good from such a terrible time.
Dad: What are you going to do, Stacey? You need to see the positive in everything. No sense in complaining about things. This is a very sad time for me and for so many families – don’t get me wrong. But we all did what we felt we had to do and we all felt that we were doing something that was “right” and “good”. I don’t know whether or not it was the right thing – even to this day.
Stacey: You mean there are still no answers, Dad.
Dad: Oh, there are answers, but we can still hold differences of opinions… we just don’t need war to solve the difference here, Stacey.
Stacey: Good to talk to you again, Dad. I’m not going to lay a wreath tomorrow – but I am going to the George Duff Memorial for you and Grandpa. Anything you want me to say or do?
Dad: No. Just being there is enough. And, Stacey, thanks for remembering.
Stacey: I love you, Dad.
Dad: Love you to, Stace.